How to Double the Life of Your Car Battery

Double that car battery life and save some serious dough! These tips will keep your car's battery in tip-top condition for as long as possible.

car batterygangnavigator/Shutterstock

Typically, car batteries will last you four to six years. However, some factors could get in the way of that time frame, such as weather conditions, vehicle type, or even how you drive your car.

A car battery change will have to happen eventually, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat the car battery with proper care. If you want to double your car battery life, these simple steps will help you in doing so.

Drive longer distances frequently

According to the Motor Trade Association, frequent short trips could actually contribute to a shorter lifespan for car batteries. Car batteries recharge at longer distances and will receive a full charge after eight hours of use. If a battery isn’t receiving a full charge, strong crystalline deposits can form on the negative plates and could prevent the battery from receiving a proper charge. That doesn’t mean you need to drive the car eight hours on the daily, but it does mean you should be careful with the amount you are using the electric auxiliary controls within the car. The car’s lights, heater fan, and radio all rely on the battery. Make sure you know these 14 signs your car is about to die.

Keep it at a neutral temperature

Batteries typically can withstand most temperatures, but extreme hot (and extreme cold) might do some damage. Hot temperatures can cause battery fluid to evaporate, which can cause problems of overcharging. This actually decreases the lifespan of your battery.

Colder temperatures can cause self-discharge, which ultimately will lead to a dead battery. The battery’s electrolytes could even freeze and cause issues internally and externally on the battery’s case. If your car is going to be idle during winter months, play it safe and find a space with a neutral temperature for the car. Check out these winter car care tips to keep your car safe.

Invest in a battery maintainer

Are you locking up a car, or maybe even a boat, for the colder months? Idle batteries can lose their charge, so you’ll want to keep the battery alive during those winter months. Batteries should be charged every six weeks in order to be healthy. However, this does not mean that the battery should be sitting on a charger, because that could actually shorten its life. Instead, a battery maintainer will help to monitor the battery voltage and automatically adjust the charge to avoid under- and overcharging it.

Give it a good clean

It’s important to check your battery for signs of corrosion: a white powder around the nodes or clamps of the battery. You can clean the clamps with baking soda, water, and a nonmetallic brush. It’s especially important to do this when your battery isn’t corroded. Corrosion means it’s probably already time for a new battery, but keeping it clean could increase longevity.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman